Did Someone Steal Your Domain Name? - What Should Be Done?
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Part of the problem with deciding what should be done about domain name front running is that there is no hard evidence yet that the practice even exists. Many people claim to have seen it. So far, however, all evidence is anecdotal, and much of that could still be chalked up to coincidence.
“It is possible that two or more parties may become interested in a domain name at nearly the same time, especially if that domain name includes a popular instant messaging acronym (e.g., rofl, afaik, tyvm, bbiab, nvm) or suddenly popular phrase (e.g., ‘what were you thinking,’ ‘go ahead make my day’),” the SSAC observed in its report. There are also technical aspects of the system that could lead to the appearance of domain name front running – for example, a domain name may be registered in the late morning on a given day but WHOIS queries in the afternoon may still show it as being available.
To find out whether this practice really does exist, the SSAC is calling for public comment. If you think you’ve had a domain name swiped out from under you by a domain name front runner, let them know about it by sending an email to email@example.com. The group will then review the reports and decide where to go from there.
If you do decide to send an email to the SSAC, there is certain information they would like you to include that would help them in their investigation. Here is the list:
- Method used to check domain name availability (e.g., web browser, application).
- Local access ISP.
- Provider or operator of the availability checking service.
- Dates and times when domain name availability checks were performed.
- Copy of the information returned (e.g., WHOIS query response) in the response to the availability check.
- Whether the domain name was reported as previously registered or never before registered in the response returned from the availability check.
- Copy of the information returned (e.g., WHOIS query response) indicating the name had been registered.
- Copy of any correspondence sent to or received from the registrant perceived to be a front runner.
- Correspondence with the registrar or availability checking service.
- Any information indicating a potential relationship between the availability checking service and the registrant that grabbed the name.
It’s a very tall order, but it is important to get all the documentation out in the open to determine whether this practice is actually happening – and if it isn’t, to keep it from turning into “perceived wisdom.” If it is happening, the documentation should assist SSAC and ICANN in deciding what action needs to be taken to ensure that everyone has a fair shot at the domain names they desire.
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